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Thus, depending on the firm, “Of Counsel” can refer to a senior associate or a senior citizen.

Even when the lawyer gets to be a partner, there are gradations. Some firms have a two-tiered partnership with equity partners, who own a piece of the firm, and contract partners, who don’t.

Some of the most common phrases used to describe law firms mean the opposite of what they appear to.

For example, a firm with a long pedigree is a white shoe firm, so-called for the white-bucks that the lawyers would wear with their bow ties in an earlier era.

Finders, Minders, and Grinders Speaking of associates, the big firms have a unique taxonomy to classify them, too.

This leads to the odd result that associates sometimes have to skip golfing because they are under par.Thus, the term “summer associates” is typically shortened to summers, leading to delightfully whimsical phrases such as “when I was a summer,” or “I had a long lunch with some really cool summers.”Junior associates are referred to by their years of practice, that is, first year, second year and so on, again with the word “associate” left out (“who does he think he is – he’s just a second year! But somewhere around third year, the counting stops and then one becomes a midlevel associate (to be distinguished from the rarer medieval associate, occasionally seen, limping and hunchbacked, in a document dungeon far below ground).Eventually one becomes a senior associate, which is simple enough.” The list is seemingly endless, including the 10K, 14A, 13D, 8A, 8-K, etc., -- all of which may cause visions of an AK-47 to dance in the mind of some disgruntled associates.In a litigation case, lawyers draft briefs and affidavits.

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